Former Brazil international addresses racism in football seminar01 October 2014

CruzeiromidfielderTingajoinedforceswiththeObservatoryofRacialDiscriminationinFootballtoaddressracisminBrazil,followinganumberofincidentsflaggedupadeeprootedprobleminthecountry’ssport.

Tinga, who was subjected to racist taunts in February 2014 during a Copa Libertadores match against the Peruvian side Real Garcilaso, lead the discussion on discriminatory behaviour in stadiums by giving his testimony.

The former Brazil international talked about recent incidents in Brazilian football and stressed the problem is latent across the country’s society, not only in football.

“One can’t have two different personalities. If you go to the cinema and you do not like an actor, you will not shout homophobic or racial insults, the same in theatre plays. So, why would it be ok to do it in a football stadium?” said the 36 year-old, who played in Europe at Borussia Dortmund and the Portuguese side Sporting.

Over the last nine months, more than 10 discriminatory incidents, most of them of racist nature, have been noted in football in Brazil or involving Brazilian teams.

‘The bubble burst and Brazil is now aware’
The seminar, held on 23 September in Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul, with the support of the state’s Football Federation, aimed to open a debate around the topic and bring together key speakers, including representatives of the media, ethnic minority groups and experts, to discuss it.

The sociologist and founder of the ethnic minority group Movimento Negro Unificado Edilson Nabarro said: “Clubs have to commit and adopt sanctioning policies, they can’t just simply stand against discrimination without any further action.

“The bubble burst and the country is now aware [of racism in football]. Football can lead the way to tackle racism in society.”

The Observatory of Racial Discrimination in Football is a newly-created organism that aims to monitor and report discrimination in football through social media and promote good practice examples.

The event was also used to launched the its first awareness-raising campaign that includes a video, which replicates a racist incident in a football stadium and what fans can do to stop it.

At the end of the seminar, Marcelo Carvalho, founder of the Observatory, added: “Urgent measures need to be taken to revert this situation that has been flagged up not only in Brazil but worldwide”.

Racism in Brazil is ‘institutional’ says UN report
A recent United Nations (UN) report on discrimination in Brazil revealed that racism in the Portuguese speaking South American country is “institutional and structured” and present in all spheres of the society.

The report, launched earlier this month as a series of new incidents spread across the country’s football, said: “Brazil can no longer be considered a racial democracy, some of governmental bodies are institutionally racist, in which racial hierarchies are culturally accepted as normal”.

It stressed the reinforcement of the educational system on the history of the afro-descent population as a step forward to challenged the “myth of racial democracy’” “often used by conservative politicians to undermine affirmative actions”.